office art.

As much as I love my new job, my office is pretty blah. I've been working (slowly) on ways to dress it up a bit.

Here's the first project:

I used the same idea as when I made these.

updated photo box.

When I first saw this photo box at a thrift store, I knew I could re-make it into a perfect Christmas gift for my almost-niece Ally.

I took it all apart. The silver frame got a coat of black spray paint, the top and sides got several coats of pink craft paint that I had on hand, and I topped the ugly felt interior with scrapbook paper.

My favorite part, though, is Ally's name on the bottom. I used the method described here to transfer it, then colored it in with a black permanent marker.

I'm linking up to DIY Day at A Soft Place to Land!

homemade good-enough frame.

There are really only three things I like to buy as souvenirs when I'm on a trip - jewelry, Christmas ornaments, and stuff to decorate my house. When I went to Russia, I brought home all three - kopeks (Russian coins) that I will someday drill a hole through and make into a charm bracelet, a Father Christmas ornament, and a beautiful watercolor that I bought on Arbat in Moscow.

The watercolor has sat wrapped up in my back storage room since I got home in February, because (1) frames are expensive, and (2) its an odd size, and custom frames are REALLY expensive.

It came with a mat, though, so I decided to make my own frame. Nothing fancy, or the least bit professional - just molding cut with a miter saw to the correct size, painted, and attached together. No glass, no backing, no inset for the frame. I figured that simple molding is inexpensive enough that I wouldn't be heartbroken to replace it later, if I so chose.

I cut the pieces to the correct size and angles using my miter box and saw, then spray painted (because I'm lazy) the pieces in a metallic chrome (which basically looks like a shiny silver). I should have primed them first, because the paint started to rub off on my fingers a bit, even after it was dry. But I figured that I would be covering it with a spray polyurethane, so it didn't matter too much.

After the pieces were painted, I laid them out on my table, just to make sure that everything matched up correctly. And I realized I had cut one of the angles wrong - my miter box must not have been set 45 degrees. Luckily, it was an easy fix - just re-cut that side and re-paint that piece.

I used L-shaped brackets to attach the pieces together. I just laid everything out and drilled a super small pilot hole (using the smallest bit I had). I was worried at first that I would drill straight through, until I realized I could just use wood filler and repaint it if I needed to. Then I used an old trick of my grandfather's, passed down from my father - if you add soap to the screws, they grip the wood much easier and are far less likely to split it.

After I got the whole thing together, I sprayed the front and back with polyurethane, and once dry, used scotch tape to attach the watercolor mat to the frame.

Simple, inexpensive, and homemade. And I love finally having this out where I can look at it every day.

neat ideas.

I read a lot of blogs on a regular basis. I use Google Reader so that I can easily see what's updated, and I skim through a lot of them, so it doesn't really take that much time.

These are just a few of the ideas I've bookmarked that I love, and want to steal:

Passport Art (from Adventures in Renovating a Brooklyn Limestone)
A great, inexpensive way to create art using stamps in your passport.

Dresser Redo (from The Old Painted Cottage)
(scroll down to the 5th picture to see what I'm talking about)
There's no before picture of this dresser, but I love the fact that she used a missing drawer to create open storage on the bottom. When I finally get around to redoing my master bathroom/walk-in closet, I would love to use an old dresser as a sink vanity - except that I want open storage on the bottom. I'm going to keep this mind as I look around for the right piece of furniture.

Board and Batten Treatment (from It's The Little Things That Make A House A Home)
I am totally going to do this in my office/guest room, as soon as I get really motivated and plan ahead enough to borrow the tools from my dad that would make it significantly easier. I could do it, of course, with my trusty miter box and hand saw, but that seems slightly insane. I've been trying to convince my parents to come for a visit, just the two of them - maybe I can convince Dad to spend a few hours with me working on this together. I could paint it after they had left. Am I crazy to think that the wood work part of this could be done in a day?

Rain Gutter Bookshelves (from Raising Olives)
If I had kids, I would definitely do this!

Word Canvas (from Myst33 via The DIY Show Off)
Now I just need to choose the right quote/verse...

answered prayers.

I've been thinking lately about the timing of prayers, or more specifically the timing of answers to prayer.

Back in February, my friend Kelly was laid off. She had an interview scheduled for the very next day (planned before the lay-off), and started at her new place (which she loves) a week and a half later. This is the thought that kept running through my head: God was at work answering a prayer that she hadn't even prayed yet.

When I first heard that my lay-off was coming, I sent an email to several friends asking them to pray, and to let me know of any open opportunities they knew about. My friend Heather (a producer for The 700 Club) immediately emailed me back to let me know that there were several open IT positions at CBN, that she had been asked to publicize on the show the very next day. I applied, and had a phone interview a week later. I interviewed in person the next week, on a Thursday, received and accepted the job offer on Friday (also my last day with LJT), and started work the next Tuesday. God was already at work answering a prayer that I had only barely begun to pray.

Amid the haze of happiness and overwhelming gratitude that I felt that weekend, I realized that its been a desire of mine to work for a non-profit company for seven years. I've pursued different positions during that time, but the timing was never quite right for any of them.

Tonight was the first REFUGE event, the culmination of a vision God gave BJ four years ago. Four years ago, three years ago, two years ago, even one year ago wasn't God's timing. Now is.

I suppose that you could look at these examples, taken together, and believe that God is random, or that he blesses people arbitrarily, or that prayers are not really answered, but circumstances make them appear so.

I don't. I choose to believe that God has both perfect timing and a perfect will. That sometimes he answers our prayers with a yes, sometimes with a no, and sometimes with a not now. I choose to believe that my life in his hands is a far better present and future than it would be if I ran it myself.

For the vision is yet for the appointed time;
It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail
Though it tarries, wait for it;
For it will certainly come, it will not delay.
- Habbakuk 2:3

i forgot about these things.

These are the things that are different in my new working life, that I'm still getting used to:

  • I get up before the sun comes up. The last time I did that, Mary and I were watching the sun rise over the ocean. The time before that...I have no idea. (Go ahead, laugh, even tease me that I used to sleep in later than the rest of the world - you know you're just jealous).
  • I spend a lot more of my day in the car.
  • Showering and getting dressed first thing in the morning is absolutely important.
  • I have to keep my shoes on during the day. Seriously, my feet are far too used to being bare or in flip-flops - they're adjusting.

finishing things.

Do you ever feel a little bit like the hamster in the wheel - lots of frantic activity but nothing ever actually gets finished?

I spent most of Monday trying to get things done before I went back to a normal work schedule on Tuesday (and my amount of time at home radically changed). I made a list (because I always make lists) and called it "The Crazy List" because...well, let's just say I dreamed big about what I would be able to accomplish. I made lots of progress on things, but the only thing that got done was a lot of laundry. (Not that I'm knocking the laundry victory, you understand, because laundry ranks up there as one of my most hated household chores, so any victory there is worth celebrating).

Now that I'm three days into my new job, I'm spending lots of time dreaming of ideas on my commute, and trying to remember I have less time to actually do them.

But I'm committing to not starting anything new, until I can actually finish some of these things. Hopefully by the end of this weekend I'll have a post all ready with a list of things that I've actually finished.

bits of randomness.

Just a few random things to share tonight:

I have a new job!

This afternoon I accepted a positon with the Christian Broadcasting Network, and I couldn't be more excited. There is so much that I would love to share, but I'm still far too excited and overwhelmed to put words to it. For now, I'll just say this:

I serve an AMAZING God.

Also, my celebration dinner with Kelly, Victor, and Jocelyn was really good! And now, I have two new recipes to add both to my goal list for the year and my personal make-this-again file, both from Pampered Chef:

Southwestern Pizza Con Queso - this pizza crust with salsa con queso, then topped with chicken and peppers with taco seasoning and fiesta cheese

Easy Apple Burritos - apples, cinnamon, and sugar rolled in tortillas and topped with caramel and ice cream.

And the best part is, both came together really quickly, so I'll definitely be making both again!

Lastly, I finally started to explore some of the wood in the loft above my garage. Tonight Victor helped me by climbing up to see what else was there, and there was some pretty sweet stuff. I've got lots of projects in mind, and I'm super excited to get them done!